The Labour Party (LP) campaign Director-General, Doyin Okupe was on Monday convicted for fraud by Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). They convicted Doyin Okupe of breaching the money laundering act, including 26 out of the 59 count charges preferred by the EFCC.
However, according to an option tendered by the presiding judge Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, Doyin Okupe paid N500, 000 fine for each of the counts, amounting to N13 million. Furthermore, the Labour Party stakeholder yesterday stepped down as Peter Obi’s campaign Director-General.
This has raised questions of the impact this would have on the presidential ambition of the Doyin Okupe party, the Labour Party.
The Labour Party has grown in popularity amongst Nigerians since Mr Peter Obi defected from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) earlier in the year. From the 2019 general elections, the Labour Party has no presence in either governorships or state houses of assembly, two seats out of the 360 available in the House and just one out of the 109 available in the senate. So it is fair to say that Peter Obi’s growing popularity or the vastness of the Obi-Dient movement is majorly based on the support of the presidential candidate from the Nigerian electorates and not of party or individual political prowess.
However, Doyin Okupe is an experienced politician who has worked with multiple prominent figures, including President Olusegun Obasanjo, President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and many more. And his participation, even from the sidelines, as described in his resignation letter, would still be vital in Peter Obi’s presidential ambition.
Overall, until Doyin Okupe clears his name, analysts believe the criminal charge hanging over him is a bad stain for the Labour Party.